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: -- he, too, was taken aback by the news that pope benedict would be stepping down february 28th for health reasons. >> we we saw him in rome in october, we realized how frail he's becoming. i think it's a courageous act on his part. >> reporter: the 85-year-old pope had been considering resigning for several months because he's tired, having trouble walking and had recently been advised by his doctor not to embark on any more trans-atlantic flights. the pontiff released a statement that reads in part, quote, after having repeatedly examined my conscience before god, i have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the petrine ministry. >> i'm very disappointed because, in my lifetime, every pope has followed the natural path of dying and then electing a new pope. >> that's kind of sad that he has to go, but you know, at least he realizes that he can't continue. >> most of the news people were saying, well, he's a rottweiler pope, well, no, he wasn't. he was a pope who spoke on love. and he has a strong legacy
for the end of march. >>> in his final days leading the catholic church pope benedict changing the rules on how a new pope is elected. card nals will now be allowed to start that process prior to the usual 15-day transition period. also today britain's highest ranking catholic leader stepping down in the wake of misconduct allegations and will not be part of the upcoming election. anne thompson has more from the vatican. >> reporter: even in his final days as pope, scandal continue to dog his papacy and the church. headlines of blackmail and conspiracy that the vatican vehement denies. american cardinal roger mahoney has so far ignored calls to stay home from the conclave to choose the next pope because of his conduct about abusive priests. >> if someone has erred in some way or another it doesn't stop their judgment in other matters. >> reporter: today cardinal o'brien resigned after being accused by three priests and a former priest of inappropriate behavior going back to the 1980s. ugly headlines that one vatican watcher says will shake the deliberations of the conclave. >> some of th
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